What are the symptoms of an abscessed tooth?

Symptoms of an abscessed tooth include:
  • tooth pain when exposed to heat
  • throbbing tooth pain that interrupts sleep
  • inability to chew or tap on the tooth
Some tooth abscesses break through the gum tissue, causing what looks like a boil or sore. 
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Symptoms (feeling) of an abscessed tooth may be all or some of the following:
  • Feeling pressure in the tooth/teeth
  • Pain/discomfort when chewing
  • Feeling swelling near the tooth and lymph nodes (the latter usually for lower teeth)  
  • Feeling that the tooth is moving (pushing out)
  • Possible temperature, headache
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Pain relieved by cold
Keep in mind that all the above symptoms may be symptoms of other problems, some of which are unrelated to teeth. A proper evaluation by an endodontist (a root canal specialist) is the best way to confirm diagnosis.

Read more: 
An abscessed tooth is an infection caused by tooth decay, periodontal disease or a cracked tooth.

Symptoms of an abscess include:
  • pain
  • swelling
  • redness in the gums
  • bad taste in the mouth
  • fever
The main symptoms of an abscessed or infected tooth include:
  • tooth pain that is throbbing, shooting, sharp, and constant
  • foul breath
  • fever
  • pain when chewing
  • sensitivity to hot or cold liquids
  • body aches or feeling ill
  • bitter taste in the mouth
  • swollen glands of the neck
  • swollen areas in the upper or lower jaw, which indicates a serious problem
If you have any of these symptoms, see your dentist right away.

Continue Learning about Cavities


Cavities are tiny holes in your teeth that have developed from decay. Left untreated, cavities will get larger, and can cause toothache and possible loss of teeth. Anybody can get a cavity, but you put yourself at greater risk if ...

you don't brush regularly, or frequently consume sweets or sugary drinks. Your dentist can help prevent cavities with fluoride treatments, and can find them by taking pictures (X-rays) of the teeth. Once found, the dentist may treat your cavity with a filling or if extensive, with a crown. If there has been an extensive infection, other treatments, including antibiotics or a root canal surgery may be indicated.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.